Today we're helping Karen. She is looking for a feminine perfume as she pulls herself together after a breakup and gets ready to start dating again. Her ideal perfume will be soft and unobtrusive but still there — a sexy skin scent, perhaps, not too sweet, and if it's something not widely known or used, all the better. It might be a creamy white floral with wood notes, but she is open to suggestions, and she can spend up to $160. Here is what we know about Karen:
She's in her mid 30s and lives in Germany, where she works as a real estate consultant and as a pilates teacher.
She enjoys outdoor activities of all kinds (running/trail running, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing), does yoga and pilates, and Argentine tango.
She is also an avid reader, and a movie and film freak — especially Westerns.
She is tall and has an athletic build; her dress style is mostly casual and practical, classical and sportsy (black or blue suit trousers or jeans or chinos and a shirt; dresses or skirts only for tango dancing).
Karen likes white flowers, especially magnolia, freesia and lily (although that smells like her soap and isn't really what she's aiming for in her perfume), soft and not too sweet coconut, soft and not sweet vanilla, woodsy notes; she also loves the smell of the beach and freshly ground coffee (but not really on her person). Right now she wears Calvin Klein Beauty for winter and nights, and she likes it but it has no lasting power and is really not very interesting — it's more of a casual business scent. She recently discovered Jour d'Hermès and likes that as a mood lifter, but it's not really the sort of perfume she is looking for right now.
Karen doesn't like sweet or cloying perfumes, and they tend to give her a headache. She also doesn't like powdery scents, iris, chocolate, too much green, too much citrus.
Here are some of the fragrances Karen has tried recently:
Serge Lutens Bois Vanille: too much vanilla and makes her sneeze.
Robert Piguet Fracas: too much and triggers a massive headache.
Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise: too much vanilla.
Aqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile: she likes this one a lot but it's not sexy.
Narciso Rodriguez for Her (black bottle): some days she likes it, other days it seems way too strong.
Bottega Veneta: too masculine.
Memo Lalibela: she does own this one and likes it, it is soft and gentle once it dries down, but it has something in it that she doesn't like.
Juliet has a Gun Not a Perfume: smells like a cleaning product and she couldn't wait to wash it off.
Nasomatto Narcotic Venus: too much of everything, even one tiny spritz; too flowery, too sweet and a weird plastic glue note.
Ormonde Jayne line: she is working her way through a sample set, but so far did not like any.
Chanel Chance, Allure, Coco Mademoiselle: too sweet, and more headaches.
Love, Chloé: too powdery and too womanly.
Chloé Eau de Parfum: too much, and too much sillage.
Marni: probably too green, and reminds her of the Chloé.
What say you?